Background Number of sports injuries has increased in Finland during the past decades. Today sports injuries are the most common injury type. Especially children and youth are at high risk.
Objective The purpose of the LiVE program is to increase safety of sports and exercise in a nationwide setting.
Methods Sports specific injury incidence, risk factors and mechanisms were studied. Two prevention RCT's have been carried out, one among female athletes (Pasanen et al. BMJ 2008) and another among army recruits (Parkkari et al. BMC Medicine 2011), and finally a systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted in September 2013 on all randomised controlled intervention trials aiming at the prevention of sports injuries (Leppänen et al. submitted). The effectiveness of following interventions was studied: insoles, external joint supports, training programmes, stretching, protective head equipment, modified shoes, and injury prevention videos.
Results Implementation of the findings of the above noted studies is now conducted in two nationwide projects; Healthy Athlete (2006-) and Safety in Schools (2010-). The primary target groups are young athletes, their coaches and parents, elementary school pupils and their teachers. Programs main communication channels are websites: www.terveurheilija.fi and www.tervekoululainen.fi. So far, the prevention program has educated over 80 tutors who work in different organisations (e.g. Finnish Ice Hockey Association and Finnish Gymnastic Federation), built up sport safety networks, introduced itself to projects target groups in numerous events, and organized several seminars to improve safety in sports. LiVE websites have attracted 6000-9000 visitors per month each. RE-AIM analyses will be presented during the conference.
Conclusions Successful development and implementation of preventive strategies against sports injuries are likely to result in reduction in the absolute number of health problems in sports, decrease in training, work and school absenteeism, and reduction in medical costs.